Obama campaign targets Romney donor

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: "Personal Story" segment tonight, a company named Melaleuca, that sells wellness products out of Idaho is under siege because the CEO donated a million dollars to a super PAC that supports Mitt Romney. And that CEO, Frank Vandersloot, is being personally attacked, as well. He joins us now here in New York City.

So I want to get -- I want the folks to know how intense this became for you. You're a big Obama fundraiser out in Idaho. Correct?


O'REILLY: I'm sorry. Romney fundraiser. And the Romney campaign people... reelection people got wind that you gave a million bucks to this PAC. So, what did they do?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, on April 20, they published a list of eight individuals, supposedly with, they said, less than reputable records. News to me. I thought I had a good record. But...

O'REILLY: They published it where? Where did they publish?

VANDERSLOOT: Published it on a -- on a Web site, KeepingGOPHonest.com.

O'REILLY: Ok. So it was on a Democratic Web site.

VANDERSLOOT: It was President Obama's.

O'REILLY: President Obama's...

VANDERSLOOT: Paid by President Obama.

O'REILLY: ... re-election campaign. All right. So your name is in there. And they're saying that you are disreputable. And they're, you know... and they do this to me all the time, Mr. Vandersloot. So don't feel bad.

So they list a whole bunch of things that they say that you did that were wrong. But you said, "Look, I'm just an honest businessman." All right? Now, what happened to your business in lieu of that? What happened?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, when I first saw the list, I thought, "Uh-oh. I thought, "This is scary." And within hours of that, then all kinds of things started appearing on the Internet, suggesting all kinds of accusations against me, rewriting history, as it were, about all kinds of things I was supposedly guilty of. And...

O'REILLY: Did it impact your business directly?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, it did right away, that first day. Phone calls started coming in. We had customers who said they wanted to cancel. People who...

O'REILLY: Because you were a mean guy, you're a rat? They wanted to cancel because you're just a lousy guy, they read that on the Net?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, they hit me first with -- they said that I hated gay people and I was anti-gay, which...

O'REILLY: You're antigay. So anybody who was buying your products who were gay said, "I'm not going to buy products from this guy."

VANDERSLOOT: We have a lot of people we work with and deal with in the business world.

O'REILLY: They basically slimed you; they smeared you.


O'REILLY: OK. So your response to the smear was to do what? This kind of publicity?

VANDERSLOOT: We -- no. We created a -- I started having conference calls with our customers. I started to -- explaining my real positions and what our real history was.

O'REILLY: You had to do that retail stuff. You had to call your customers and distributors and tell them who you really were?

VANDERSLOOT: Sure. Yes, we did. Then we put up a Web site of our own, FrankVanderslootResponds.com, to try to handle all of these accusations.

O'REILLY: Has it worked?

VANDERSLOOT: It did to a degree. It did to a degree.

O'REILLY: It stopped the bleeding somewhat?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, we lost a couple hundred customers so far. And then we started getting that turned around. And then thankfully, Kim Strassel from the Wall Street Journal did an article this last Friday, and then everything's turning around now in heading in the...

O'REILLY: Some believe -- some believe this is economic terrorism. Not economic, political terrorism. That targeting a businessman like you running an honest business because of your freedom to donate who you want to donate to, but try to ruin you personally and professionally, that's terrorism, political terrorism. Do you see it that way?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, I have these two questions, Bill, to President Obama. Why did you publish a list? Why?

O'REILLY: But he doesn't know anything about it. I'm not making excuses for his people.

VANDERSLOOT: ...his people.

O'REILLY: I don't think he micromanages.

VANDERSLOOT: He surely put the people in charge to make those accusations.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. And he's responsible for it.

VANDERSLOOT: Ask them then.

O'REILLY: He's responsible for it, because they did it under his name. So absolutely.

VANDERSLOOT: Ask them: why did you make a list? Of all the things you could be doing..

O'REILLY: They want to hurt you and intimidate others who would give to Romney. That's why.

VANDERSLOOT: Second question is who's supposed to receive the message? Is it only the liberal press that's supposed to go after these folks? Or is it also the agencies that he runs like -- that he's in charge of and who report to him and want to please him? The FDC, the FDA, the USDA?

O'REILLY: Well, I think you might be -- you might be making it more complicated than it is.

Here's the bottom line. They want you to shut up and not give any money. And you're going to give another donation, I understand, to the Romney campaign. But they wanted to intimidate you from giving any money to the campaign and others like you who might be thinking about it. Business people going, "I'm not going to do that, because they'll put my name on the Web and I'll lose customers. So I'm not going to do it."

That's what they -- but that's terrorism. And that's what that is.

VANDERSLOOT: I suppose it is. It never happened -- no president has ever done it before.

O'REILLY: OK. But I want -- I think you should be careful on this. If I do ever get the chance to talk to Barack Obama, I'm going to bring up your case, because you're absolutely right. He should scrub that and take that off, and he shouldn't do that.

But I don't know if he himself -- he himself had ordered to do it, and I think we've got to be careful.

Here's your check to Restore Our Future, right?

VANDERSLOOT: I think the only response to this...

O'REILLY: Hold it up here.

VANDERSLOOT: I think the only response is to make another donation...

O'REILLY: All right.

VANDERSLOOT: ... for $100,000. And I would like to invite everybody -- I mean, if they want to attack me, I don't suppose this is going to, like, reduce the attacks.

O'REILLY: No, it will accelerate them. But you're a stand-up guy. Look, if Romney wins, you'd be in what they call...

VANDERSLOOT: Perhaps everybody else can donate in peace, and that's how it should be in America.

O'REILLY: All right.

VANDERSLOOT: This should not happen in America.

O'REILLY: I agree, Mr. Vandersloot. Thanks for coming in here.

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